When a woman suffers from ailments like fibroids, cervical or ovarian cancer, hysterectomy becomes an unavoidable course of action for her. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure of removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and upper part of vagina of a woman. This procedure is recommended if there is an abnormal vaginal bleeding post childbirth or if uterine fibroids are causing excruciating pain in lower abdomen. Sometimes, women undergo this surgery to combat medical conditions like uterine prolapse (slipping of uterus into vaginal canal), endometriosis (causes recurring pelvic pain), ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain or adenomyosis (thickening of uterus). A partial hysterectomy is the surgical removal of upper part of uterus, along with the fallopian tubes, leaving the ovaries and the cervix intact. This surgery is recommended when severe bleeding is caused by uterine fibroids in ovaries. So let's understand the complications and recovery time involved in this surgery.
Partial Hysterectomy Surgery
Being an in-patient procedure, a patient undergoing the operation is advised to stay in the hospital for a period of about two to five days. This surgery is done either vaginally or abdominally. The duration of the procedure may take about 1 to 3 hours, based on the complaint. Most of the time, the abdominal approach is adopted. In this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in a way that the uterus is detached from its ligaments and blood supply. This is also a convenient method for the surgeon as he can clearly get a view of the reproductive system inside and can plan his operation appropriately.
The abdominal approach is recommended when large fibroids need to be removed. In the vaginal approach, the affected organ is removed with the help of a laparascope. However, the vaginal hysterectomy recovery time is comparatively shorter than that of abdominal hysterectomy and no scars are left behind in the former procedure. Both the methods are carried out after the patient is administered local or general anesthesia to numb the pain.
Hysterectomy procedures have some post operative risk factors which can increase complications. Smoking, aging and obesity are some of the risk factors that aggravate the complications. Most common side effects observed post surgery are:
- Hot flashes
- Dry vagina
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Weakness and nausea
- Excessive weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
- Frequent headaches and irritability
- Urinal tract problems
- Blockages in bowels
- Vaginal prolapse
- Pelvic pain
- Blood clot in lungs
Apart from the above listed side effects, the patient may also suffer from dysuria (painful urination), allergic reaction to anesthesia, excessive bleeding and organ damage (in some cases). There are chances of the surgical wound getting infected, in the absence of proper hygiene and medication.
Once the surgery is over, the patient may take a few weeks to recuperate and recover from the surgery. For complete recovery from abdominal hysterectomy, time taken is from a few weeks, six to eight weeks to be approximate. In case of laparoscopic procedure, it takes approximately five weeks for recuperation. Mentioned here are some of the dos and don'ts that have to be followed during the recuperating phase.
- It is advised to keep ample sanitary pads handy as a woman is bound to experience severe bleeding for several days post surgery.
- A heating pad over the abdomen and another under the abdomen is sure to ease the discomfort felt after this medical procedure. But note that it is not recommended to sleep with the heating pad over abdomen at night.
- Lifting heavy objects and overexertion are strictly advised against! The woman can ask someone else to lift things for her as her body is very weak. This recovery time is essential for her to regain her lost strength and stamina.
- No dairy products must be consumed post this surgery. This is because dairy products can cause constipation which creates additional discomfort for woman. So it is a must for her to drink 8-10 glasses of water everyday to wash off the toxins from her body.
- Alcoholic beverages must be strictly avoided post hysterectomy. They can prove toxic with their reactions with the medications (like pain relievers) being taken by the woman in her recovery period.
- Last but not the least, nothing beats the importance of a healthy diet. Post surgery, the woman must have a routine diet that includes cold water fish, chicken, turkey, salads, soups and a lot of fruits and green vegetables.Vitamin supplements are a must for her to help her enhance the immune system during recovery. Light motion exercises are also advised to reduce risks of lung infections and blood clots.
Partial hysterectomy is definitely an emotive phase for a woman. It should be done only if the doctor deems it necessary, citing the complications posed by the medical condition. The recovery time may vary depending on the type of surgery performed. It is also necessary to take proper precautions during the entire recuperating phase. This is because the repercussions of this surgical procedure can weigh too hard for a woman who is bound to experience a lot of side effects post surgery.